I am renting a flat in Wales.
On the day I signed the Assured Shorthold Contract last October, the landlord issued me a section 21 for repossesion at the end of the 8 month contract.
My landlord is now asking me if I want to extend the contract by 6 months, or if I want to move out at the end of 8 months.
I neither want to move out nor extend the contract, I would rather move to a periodic tenancy. I asked if my landlord would be wiling to withdraw the section 21 but they do not want to.
My question is if I tell them that I intend to stay in the flat will i be breaching either my contract or any legislation. My understanding is that they will have to go through a process for a no fault eviction. The name no fault suggest that although they may evict me I wont be liable for anything by refusing to move out before the eviction process starts. Am I correct?
Hi James, the following is my understanding of the situation based on my knowledge of English lets. There are a few difference between England and Wales, but I believe the following applies in Wales, too. Best to double check on a site like Shelter Cymru to be sure.
There’s nothing illegal about staying in a property until the landlord has the legal right to repossess it. They only have this right when the have served a valid notice, successfully obtained a court order of possession, the order has expired, and they have then applied for and got a warrant for possession. At this point only bailiffs can evict you. At the point that the court orders you give possession of the property to the landlord, it might be said you are in some way acting againg against the law insofar as you are not acting in line with an order from a court, but in practical terms, not much can be done to make you leave until the warrant for possession is obtained.
One thing to check is whether the landlord’s section 21 notice was served validly. In England at least, a S21 cannot be served validly in the first four months of a tenancy. If this is the case in Wales, that would suggest that the notice is not valid and the landlord would have to start afresh with any eviction proceedings.
James, I am both a Landlord of 22 years and now a tenant for 3 years.
As a landlord we are put in the unenviable position of having to be meticulous when it come to legal aspects. Whilst I and most landlords want a friendly professional relationship with our tenants, it is incumbent upon us to present all the legal stuff for fear that tenants “play the game” and stop paying rent and refuse to leave.
I am not suggesting this is you, but many of us have faced it.
I always make it clear that contracts etc are for mutual protection, however, the desire is always to do things amicably.
I had a similar situation in my last residence, the ll was being pressured by the letting agent to create a new 12 month AST with associated costs.
I explained to the ll that this was not necessaty and by default it would continue with the agreed notice period either side as a periodic tenancy. In our case this was 2 months and agreeable to us both.
So, ask the ll if (s)he is happy with that. If no notice period is specified it defaults to the payment cycle.
Above all, keep things friendly, but also agreed, written and signed.
All the best
I think the landlord is trying to secure a new contract and hence at least 6 months rent to provide him with security. Some landlords do this and in the past when fees were applicable many Estate Agents did this to secure fees on the new contract.
If you just tell the landlord that you don’t want to and will not sign a new contract, but that you wish to stay under the original contract and when the time finally comes you will give him the correct notice, then I very much doubt he will try to get rid of you. Especially in the current climate where us Landlords know how much more difficult it is going to be to find a new tenant.
Tell him you’re staying under the original contract and if he wants you out he is going to have to commence no fault eviction proceedings and he’ll soon agree to your needs.
It seems that if you are renting in Wales then the landlord can serve a section 21 at any time as opposed to having to wait at least four months as is the case in England. However, if you are a “good” tenant and not causing any problems then I can’t see why any sane landlord wouldn’t just let you stay as long as you want! The initial contract also sounds a bit odd as ASTs are usually 6 months or a year or two. Did you initially say you were planning to stay for 8 months? The only reason to demand a new contract is if somebody is getting some fees and/or the landlord wants the security. But then evicting you means having to find another tenant who may not be as reliable as you are.
In any case I thought evictions were currently banned until the end of August in England and Wales? So the notice would in any case be invalid.
And going forward, landlords are going to be expected to exhaust all other options before carryng out evictions: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/jun/05/eviction-ban-extended-in-uk-by-further-two-months